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This article is about the U.S. state. Virginia_sentence_0

For other uses, see Virginia (disambiguation). Virginia_sentence_1

"The Old Dominion" redirects here. Virginia_sentence_2

For other uses, see Old Dominion. Virginia_sentence_3


CountryVirginia_header_cell_0_1_0 United StatesVirginia_cell_0_1_1
Before statehoodVirginia_header_cell_0_2_0 Colony of VirginiaVirginia_cell_0_2_1
Admitted to the UnionVirginia_header_cell_0_3_0 June 25, 1788 (10th)Virginia_cell_0_3_1
CapitalVirginia_header_cell_0_4_0 RichmondVirginia_cell_0_4_1
Largest cityVirginia_header_cell_0_5_0 Virginia BeachVirginia_cell_0_5_1
Largest metroVirginia_header_cell_0_6_0 Washington-Arlington-AlexandriaVirginia_cell_0_6_1
GovernorVirginia_header_cell_0_8_0 Ralph Northam (D)Virginia_cell_0_8_1
Lieutenant GovernorVirginia_header_cell_0_9_0 Justin Fairfax (D)Virginia_cell_0_9_1
LegislatureVirginia_header_cell_0_10_0 General AssemblyVirginia_cell_0_10_1
Upper houseVirginia_header_cell_0_11_0 SenateVirginia_cell_0_11_1
Lower houseVirginia_header_cell_0_12_0 House of DelegatesVirginia_cell_0_12_1
JudiciaryVirginia_header_cell_0_13_0 Supreme Court of VirginiaVirginia_cell_0_13_1
U.S. senatorsVirginia_header_cell_0_14_0 Virginia_cell_0_14_1
U.S. House delegationVirginia_header_cell_0_15_0 (list)Virginia_cell_0_15_1
TotalVirginia_header_cell_0_17_0 42,774.2 sq mi (110,785.67 km)Virginia_cell_0_17_1
Area rankVirginia_header_cell_0_18_0 35thVirginia_cell_0_18_1
LengthVirginia_header_cell_0_20_0 430 mi (690 km)Virginia_cell_0_20_1
WidthVirginia_header_cell_0_21_0 200 mi (320 km)Virginia_cell_0_21_1
ElevationVirginia_header_cell_0_22_0 950 ft (290 m)Virginia_cell_0_22_1
Highest elevation (Mount Rogers)Virginia_header_cell_0_23_0 5,729 ft (1,746 m)Virginia_cell_0_23_1
Lowest elevation (Atlantic Ocean)Virginia_header_cell_0_24_0 0 ft (0 m)Virginia_cell_0_24_1
Population (2019)Virginia_header_cell_0_25_0
TotalVirginia_header_cell_0_26_0 8,535,519Virginia_cell_0_26_1
RankVirginia_header_cell_0_27_0 12thVirginia_cell_0_27_1
DensityVirginia_header_cell_0_28_0 206.7/sq mi (79.8/km)Virginia_cell_0_28_1
Density rankVirginia_header_cell_0_29_0 14thVirginia_cell_0_29_1
Median household incomeVirginia_header_cell_0_30_0 $71,535Virginia_cell_0_30_1
Income rankVirginia_header_cell_0_31_0 10thVirginia_cell_0_31_1
Demonym(s)Virginia_header_cell_0_32_0 VirginianVirginia_cell_0_32_1
Official languageVirginia_header_cell_0_34_0 EnglishVirginia_cell_0_34_1
Spoken languageVirginia_header_cell_0_35_0 Virginia_cell_0_35_1
Time zoneVirginia_header_cell_0_36_0 UTC-05:00 (Eastern)Virginia_cell_0_36_1
Summer (DST)Virginia_header_cell_0_37_0 UTC-04:00 (EDT)Virginia_cell_0_37_1
USPS abbreviationVirginia_header_cell_0_38_0 VAVirginia_cell_0_38_1
ISO 3166 codeVirginia_header_cell_0_39_0 US-VAVirginia_cell_0_39_1
Traditional abbreviationVirginia_header_cell_0_40_0 Va.Virginia_cell_0_40_1
LatitudeVirginia_header_cell_0_41_0 36° 32′ N to 39° 28′ NVirginia_cell_0_41_1
LongitudeVirginia_header_cell_0_42_0 75° 15′ W to 83° 41′ WVirginia_cell_0_42_1
WebsiteVirginia_header_cell_0_43_0 Virginia_cell_0_43_1


Virginia state symbolsVirginia_header_cell_1_0_0
Living insigniaVirginia_header_cell_1_1_0
BirdVirginia_header_cell_1_2_0 Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)Virginia_cell_1_2_1
ButterflyVirginia_header_cell_1_3_0 Tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)Virginia_cell_1_3_1
Dog breedVirginia_header_cell_1_4_0 American Foxhound (Canis lupus familiaris)Virginia_cell_1_4_1
FishVirginia_header_cell_1_5_0 Brook trout, striped bassVirginia_cell_1_5_1
FlowerVirginia_header_cell_1_6_0 Flowering dogwoodVirginia_cell_1_6_1
InsectVirginia_header_cell_1_7_0 Tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)Virginia_cell_1_7_1
TreeVirginia_header_cell_1_8_0 Flowering dogwoodVirginia_cell_1_8_1
Inanimate insigniaVirginia_header_cell_1_9_0
BeverageVirginia_header_cell_1_10_0 MilkVirginia_cell_1_10_1
DanceVirginia_header_cell_1_11_0 Square danceVirginia_cell_1_11_1
FossilVirginia_header_cell_1_12_0 Chesapecten jeffersoniusVirginia_cell_1_12_1
RockVirginia_header_cell_1_13_0 NelsoniteVirginia_cell_1_13_1
ShellVirginia_header_cell_1_14_0 Eastern oysterVirginia_cell_1_14_1
SloganVirginia_header_cell_1_15_0 Virginia is for loversVirginia_cell_1_15_1
TartanVirginia_header_cell_1_16_0 Virginia Quadricentennial tartanVirginia_cell_1_16_1
State route markerVirginia_header_cell_1_17_0
State quarterVirginia_header_cell_1_18_0

Virginia (/vərˈdʒɪniə/ (listen)), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia_sentence_4

The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. Virginia_sentence_5

The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most-populous city, and Fairfax County is the most-populous political subdivision. Virginia_sentence_6

The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2019 is over 8.54 million, with 36% of them living in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Virginia_sentence_7

The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. Virginia_sentence_8

In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent English colony in the New World. Virginia_sentence_9

Virginia's state nickname, the Old Dominion, is a reference to this status. Virginia_sentence_10

Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy. Virginia_sentence_11

Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution. Virginia_sentence_12

In the American Civil War, Virginia's Secession Convention resolved to join the Confederacy while the First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union, leading to a split that created West Virginia. Virginia_sentence_13

Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia. Virginia_sentence_14

Virginia's state legislature is the Virginia General Assembly, which was established in 1619 and is the oldest continuous law-making body in North America. Virginia_sentence_15

It is made up of a 40-member Senate and a 100-member House of Delegates. Virginia_sentence_16

The state government is unique in how it treats cities and counties equally, manages local roads, and prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia_sentence_17

Virginia's economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley; federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the headquarters of the U.S. Virginia_sentence_18

Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region's main seaport. Virginia_sentence_19

Geography Virginia_section_0

Main article: Environment of Virginia Virginia_sentence_20

Virginia has a total area of 42,774.2 square miles (110,784.7 km), including 3,180.13 square miles (8,236.5 km) of water, making it the 35th-largest state by area. Virginia_sentence_21

Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.C. to the north and east; by the Atlantic Ocean to the east; by North Carolina to the south; by Tennessee to the southwest; by Kentucky to the west; and by West Virginia to the north and west. Virginia_sentence_22

Virginia's boundary with Maryland and Washington, D.C. extends to the low-water mark of the south shore of the Potomac River. Virginia_sentence_23

The state's southern border is defined as 36°30' north latitude, though surveyor error in the 1700s led to deviations of as much as three arcminutes. Virginia_sentence_24

From 1802 to 1803, a commission appointed by Virginia and Tennessee surveyed the area and set their border as a line from the summit of White Top Mountain to the top of the Cumberland Mountains. Virginia_sentence_25

Errors discovered in 1856 led Virginia to propose a new surveying commission in 1871, but in 1893 the U.S. Virginia_sentence_26

Supreme Court decided in favor of the 1803 line in the case Virginia v. Tennessee. Virginia_sentence_27

One result of this is the division of the city of Bristol between the two states. Virginia_sentence_28

Geology and terrain Virginia_section_1

The Chesapeake Bay separates the contiguous portion of the Commonwealth from the two-county peninsula of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Virginia_sentence_29

The bay was formed from the drowned river valleys of the Susquehanna River and the James River. Virginia_sentence_30

Many of Virginia's rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay, including the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James, which create three peninsulas in the bay. Virginia_sentence_31

Sea level rise has eroded the land on Virginia's islands, which include Tangier Island in the bay and Chincoteague, one of 23 barrier islands on the Atlantic coast. Virginia_sentence_32

The Tidewater is a coastal plain between the Atlantic coast and the fall line. Virginia_sentence_33

It includes the Eastern Shore and major estuaries of Chesapeake Bay. Virginia_sentence_34

The Piedmont is a series of sedimentary and igneous rock-based foothills east of the mountains which were formed in the Mesozoic era. Virginia_sentence_35

The region, known for its heavy clay soil, includes the Southwest Mountains around Charlottesville. Virginia_sentence_36

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains with the highest points in the commonwealth, the tallest being Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet (1,746 m). Virginia_sentence_37

The Ridge and Valley region is west of the mountains and includes the Great Appalachian Valley. Virginia_sentence_38

The region is carbonate rock based and includes Massanutten Mountain. Virginia_sentence_39

The Cumberland Plateau and the Cumberland Mountains are in the southwest corner of Virginia, south of the Allegheny Plateau. Virginia_sentence_40

In this region, rivers flow northwest, with a dendritic drainage system, into the Ohio River basin. Virginia_sentence_41

The Virginia Seismic Zone has not had a history of regular earthquake activity. Virginia_sentence_42

Earthquakes are rarely above 4.5 in magnitude, because Virginia is located away from the edges of the North American Plate. Virginia_sentence_43

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Virginia on August 23, 2011, near Mineral, and was the state's largest in at least a century. Virginia_sentence_44

Due to the area's geologic properties, the earthquake was felt from Northern Florida to Southern Ontario. Virginia_sentence_45

35 million years ago, a bolide impacted what is now eastern Virginia. Virginia_sentence_46

The resulting Chesapeake Bay impact crater may explain what earthquakes and subsidence the region does experience. Virginia_sentence_47

Coal mining takes place in the three mountainous regions at 45 distinct coal beds near Mesozoic basins. Virginia_sentence_48

More than 67 million tons of other non-fuel resources, such as slate, kyanite, sand, or gravel, were also mined in Virginia in 2019. Virginia_sentence_49

The commonwealth's carbonate rock is filled with more than 4,000 caves, ten of which are open for tourism, including the popular Luray Caverns and Skyline Caverns. Virginia_sentence_50

Climate Virginia_section_2

Main article: Climate of Virginia Virginia_sentence_51

Virginia has a humid subtropical climate that transitions to humid continental west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Virginia_sentence_52

Seasonal extremes vary from average lows of 25 °F (−4 °C) in January to average highs of 86 °F (30 °C) in July. Virginia_sentence_53

The Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream have a strong effect on eastern and southeastern coastal areas of the commonwealth, making the climate there warmer and more constant. Virginia_sentence_54

Most of Virginia's recorded extremes in temperature and precipitation have occurred in the Blue Ridge Mountains and areas west. Virginia_sentence_55

Virginia receives an average of 43.34 inches (110 cm) of precipitation annually, with the Shenandoah Valley being the state's driest region due to the mountains on either side. Virginia_sentence_56

Virginia has around 35–45 days with thunderstorms annually, and storms are common in the late afternoon and evenings between April and September. Virginia_sentence_57

These months are also the most common for tornadoes, 19 of which touched down in the state in 2019. Virginia_sentence_58

Hurricanes and tropical storms can occur from August to October, and though they typically impact coastal regions, the deadliest natural disaster in Virginia was Hurricane Camille, which killed over 150 people in 1969, mainly inland in Nelson County. Virginia_sentence_59

Between December and March, cold-air damming caused by the Appalachian Mountains can lead to significant snowfalls across the state, such as the January 2016 blizzard, which created the state's highest recorded snowfall of 36.6 inches (93 cm) near Bluemont. Virginia_sentence_60

Virginia only received 13.1 inches (33 cm) of snow during winter 2018–19, just above the state's average of 10 inches (25 cm). Virginia_sentence_61

Climate change Virginia_section_3

Main article: Climate change in Virginia Virginia_sentence_62

Climate change in Virginia is leading to higher temperatures year-round as well as more heavy rain and flooding events. Virginia_sentence_63

Urban heat islands can be found in many Virginia cities and suburbs, particularly in neighborhoods linked to historic redlining. Virginia_sentence_64

Arlington had the most code orange days in 2019 for high ozone pollution in the air, with 12, followed by Fairfax County with 7. Virginia_sentence_65

Exposure of particulate matter in Virginia's air has decreased 49% from 13.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2003 to 6.9 in 2019. Virginia_sentence_66

The closure and conversion of coal power plants in Virginia and the Ohio Valley region has reduced haze in the mountains, which peaked in 1998. Virginia_sentence_67

Virginia's 6 coal power plants must shut down by 2025, and current plans call for 30 percent of the state's electricity to be renewable by 2030 and for all of it to be carbon-free by 2050. Virginia_sentence_68

Ecosystem Virginia_section_4

See also: List of endangered species in Virginia Virginia_sentence_69

Forests cover 62 percent of Virginia as of 2019, of which 78 percent is considered hardwood forest, meaning that trees in Virginia are primarily deciduous and broad-leaved. Virginia_sentence_70

The other 22 percent is pine, with Loblolly and shortleaf pine dominating much of central and eastern Virginia. Virginia_sentence_71

In the western and mountainous parts of the commonwealth, oak and hickory are most common, while lower altitudes are more likely to have small but dense stands of moisture-loving hemlocks and mosses in abundance. Virginia_sentence_72

Gypsy moth infestations in oak trees and the blight in chestnut trees have decreased both of their numbers, leaving more room for hickory and invasive ailanthus trees. Virginia_sentence_73

In the lowland tidewater and Piedmont, yellow pines tend to dominate, with bald cypress wetland forests in the Great Dismal and Nottoway swamps. Virginia_sentence_74

Other common trees and plants include red bay, wax myrtle, dwarf palmetto, tulip poplar, mountain laurel, milkweed, daisies, and many species of ferns. Virginia_sentence_75

The largest areas of wilderness are along the Atlantic coast and in the western mountains, where the largest populations of trillium wildflowers in North America are found. Virginia_sentence_76

Virginia is home to more than one million white-tailed deer, whose population have rebounded from an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 during the Great Depression. Virginia_sentence_77

Native carnivorans include black bears, bobcats, coyotes, both gray and red foxes, raccoons, and skunks. Virginia_sentence_78

Rodents include groundhogs, weasels, nutria, beavers, both gray squirrels and fox squirrels, chipmunks, and Allegheny woodrats, while bats include brown bats and the Virginia big-eared bat, the state mammal. Virginia_sentence_79

The Virginia opossum is also the only marsupial native to the United States and Canada, and the native Appalachian cottontail was recognized as a distinct species of rabbit in 1992. Virginia_sentence_80

Virginia's bird fauna consists of 422 counted species, of which 359 are regularly occurring, 41 are accidental (vagrant), 20 are hypothetical, and two are extinct; of the regularly occurring species, 214 have bred in Virginia, while the rest are winter residents or transients in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_81

There are no species of bird endemic to the state. Virginia_sentence_82

Audubon recognizes 21 Important Bird Areas in the Virginia. Virginia_sentence_83

Peregrine falcons, whose numbers dramatically declined due to DDT pesticide poisoning in the middle of the 20th century, are the focus of conservation efforts in the state; as of 2017, Virginia had 31 breeding pairs of the bird, and a reintroduction program in Shenandoah National Park was underway. Virginia_sentence_84

Virginia has 226 species of freshwater fish, from 25 families; the state's diverse array of fish species is attributable to its varied and humid climate, physiography, river system interconnections, and lack of Pleistocene glaciers. Virginia_sentence_85

For example, the state is home to Eastern blacknose dace and sculpin (on the Appalachian Plateau); smallmouth bass and redhorse sucker (in the Ridge and Valley region); brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and the Kanawha darter (in the Blue Ridge); stripeback darter and Roanoke Bass (in the Piedmont); and swampfish, bluespotted sunfish, and pirate perch (on the Coastal Plain). Virginia_sentence_86

The Chesapeake Bay is host to many species, including blue crabs, clams, oysters, rockfish, as well as the invasive blue catfish. Virginia_sentence_87

Running brooks with rocky bottoms are often inhabited by plentiful amounts of crayfish. Virginia_sentence_88

Amphibians found in Virginia include the Cumberland Plateau salamander and Eastern hellbender. Virginia_sentence_89

Virginia has 30 National Park Service units, such as Great Falls Park and the Appalachian Trail, and one national park, Shenandoah National Park. Virginia_sentence_90

Shenandoah was established in 1935 and encompasses the scenic Skyline Drive. Virginia_sentence_91

Almost forty percent (79,579 acres or 322.04 km) of the park's total 199,173 acres (806.02 km) area has been designated as wilderness under the National Wilderness Preservation System. Virginia_sentence_92

Virginia also has 38 Virginia state parks, 3 undeveloped parks, and 63 natural areas, totaling 127,000 acres (51,000 ha), of which approximately 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) are in state parks. Virginia_sentence_93

All are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation except for Breaks Interstate Park. Virginia_sentence_94

which lies on the Virginia-Kentucky border and is one of only two inter-state parks in the United States. Virginia_sentence_95

There are 22 state forests and other state lands managed by the Virginia Department of Forestry, totaling 67,920 acres (27,490 ha). Virginia_sentence_96

The Chesapeake Bay is not a national park, but is protected by both state and federal legislation and the inter-state Chesapeake Bay Program, which conducts restoration on the bay and its watershed. Virginia_sentence_97

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge extends into North Carolina, as does the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which marks the beginning of the Outer Banks. Virginia_sentence_98

History Virginia_section_5

Main article: History of Virginia Virginia_sentence_99

Virginia celebrated its quadricentennial year in 2007, marking 400 years since the establishment of the Jamestown Colony. Virginia_sentence_100

The observances highlighted contributions from Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans, each of which had a significant part in shaping Virginia's history. Virginia_sentence_101

Warfare, including among these groups, has also had an important role. Virginia_sentence_102

Virginia was a focal point in conflicts from the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the Civil War, to the Cold War and the War on Terrorism. Virginia_sentence_103

Fictionalized stories about the early colony, in particular the story of Pocahontas and John Smith, first became popular in the period after the Revolutionary War, and together with other myths surrounding George Washington's childhood and plantation elite in the antebellum period became touchstones of Virginian and American culture and helped shape the state's historic politics and beliefs. Virginia_sentence_104

Colony Virginia_section_6

Main article: Colony of Virginia Virginia_sentence_105

The first people are estimated to have arrived in Virginia over 12,000 years ago. Virginia_sentence_106

By 5,000 years ago more permanent settlements emerged, and farming began by 900 AD. Virginia_sentence_107

By 1500, the Algonquian peoples had founded towns such as Werowocomoco in the Tidewater region, which they referred to as Tsenacommacah. Virginia_sentence_108

The other major language groups in the area were the Siouan to the west, and the Iroquoians, who included the Nottoway and Meherrin, to the north and south. Virginia_sentence_109

After 1570, the Algonquians consolidated under Chief Powhatan in response to threats from these other groups on their trade network. Virginia_sentence_110

Powhatan controlled more than 30 smaller tribes and more than 150 settlements, who shared a common Virginia Algonquian language. Virginia_sentence_111

In 1607, the native Tidewater population was between 13,000 and 14,000. Virginia_sentence_112

Several European expeditions, including a group of Spanish Jesuits, explored the Chesapeake Bay during the 16th century. Virginia_sentence_113

In 1583, Queen Elizabeth I of England granted Walter Raleigh a charter to plant a colony north of Spanish Florida. Virginia_sentence_114

In 1584, Raleigh sent an expedition to the Atlantic coast of North America. Virginia_sentence_115

The name "Virginia" may have been suggested then by Raleigh or Elizabeth, perhaps noting her status as the "Virgin Queen", and may also be related to a native phrase, "Wingandacoa", or name, "Wingina". Virginia_sentence_116

Initially the name applied to the entire coastal region from South Carolina to Maine, plus the island of Bermuda. Virginia_sentence_117

The London Company was incorporated as a joint stock company by the proprietary Charter of 1606, which granted land rights to this area. Virginia_sentence_118

The company financed the first permanent English settlement in the "New World", Jamestown. Virginia_sentence_119

Named for King James I, it was founded in May 1607 by Christopher Newport. Virginia_sentence_120

In 1619, colonists took greater control with an elected legislature, later called the House of Burgesses. Virginia_sentence_121

With the bankruptcy of the London Company in 1624, the settlement was taken into royal authority as an English crown colony. Virginia_sentence_122

Life in the colony was perilous, and many died during the Starving Time in 1609 and the Anglo-Powhatan Wars, including the Indian massacre of 1622, which fostered the colonists' negative view of all tribes. Virginia_sentence_123

By 1624, only 3,400 of the 6,000 early settlers had survived. Virginia_sentence_124

However, European demand for tobacco fueled the arrival of more settlers and servants. Virginia_sentence_125

The headright system tried to solve the labor shortage by providing colonists with land for each indentured servant they transported to Virginia. Virginia_sentence_126

African workers were first imported to Jamestown in 1619 initially under the rules of indentured servitude. Virginia_sentence_127

The shift to a system of African slavery in Virginia was propelled by the legal cases of John Punch, who was sentenced to lifetime slavery in 1640 for attempting to escape his servitude, and of John Casor, who was claimed by Anthony Johnson as his servant for life in 1655. Virginia_sentence_128

Slavery first appears in Virginia statutes in 1661 and 1662, when a law made it hereditary based on the mother's status. Virginia_sentence_129

Tensions and the geographic differences between the working and ruling classes led to Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, by which time current and former indentured servants made up as much as eighty percent of the population. Virginia_sentence_130

Rebels, largely from the colony's frontier, were also opposed to the conciliatory policy towards native tribes, and one result of the rebellion was the signing at Middle Plantation of the Treaty of 1677, which made the signatory tribes tributary states and was part of a pattern of appropriating tribal land by force and treaty. Virginia_sentence_131

Middle Plantation saw the founding of The College of William & Mary in 1693 and was renamed Williamsburg as it became the colonial capital in 1699. Virginia_sentence_132

In 1747, a group of Virginian speculators formed the Ohio Company, with the backing of the British crown, to start English settlement and trade in the Ohio Country west of the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia_sentence_133

France, which claimed this area as part of their colony of New France, viewed this as a threat, and the ensuing French and Indian War became part of the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). Virginia_sentence_134

A militia from several British colonies, called the Virginia Regiment, was led by then-Lieutenant Colonel George Washington. Virginia_sentence_135

Statehood Virginia_section_7

The British Parliament's efforts to levy new taxes following the French and Indian War were deeply unpopular in the colonies. Virginia_sentence_136

In the House of Burgesses, opposition to taxation without representation was led by Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, among others. Virginia_sentence_137

Virginians began to coordinate their actions with other colonies in 1773, and sent delegates to the Continental Congress the following year. Virginia_sentence_138

After the House of Burgesses was dissolved by the royal governor in 1774, Virginia's revolutionary leaders continued to govern via the Virginia Conventions. Virginia_sentence_139

On May 15, 1776, the Convention declared Virginia's independence from the British Empire and adopted George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was then included in a new constitution. Virginia_sentence_140

Another Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, drew upon Mason's work in drafting the national Declaration of Independence. Virginia_sentence_141

When the American Revolutionary War began, George Washington was selected to head the colonial army. Virginia_sentence_142

During the war, the capital was moved to Richmond at the urging of Governor Thomas Jefferson, who feared that Williamsburg's coastal location would make it vulnerable to British attack. Virginia_sentence_143

In 1781, the combined action of Continental and French land and naval forces trapped the British army on the Virginia Peninsula, where troops under George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau defeated British General Cornwallis in the Siege of Yorktown. Virginia_sentence_144

His surrender on October 19, 1781 led to peace negotiations in Paris and secured the independence of the colonies. Virginia_sentence_145

Virginians were instrumental in writing the United States Constitution. Virginia_sentence_146

James Madison drafted the Virginia Plan in 1787 and the Bill of Rights in 1789. Virginia_sentence_147

Virginia ratified the Constitution on June 25, 1788. Virginia_sentence_148

The three-fifths compromise ensured that Virginia, with its large number of slaves, initially had the largest bloc in the House of Representatives. Virginia_sentence_149

Together with the Virginia dynasty of presidents, this gave the Commonwealth national importance. Virginia_sentence_150

In 1790, both Virginia and Maryland ceded territory to form the new District of Columbia, though the Virginian area was retroceded in 1846. Virginia_sentence_151

Virginia is called the "Mother of States" because of its role in being carved into states such as Kentucky, which became the 15th state in 1792, and for the numbers of American pioneers born in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_152

Civil War and aftermath Virginia_section_8

Main article: Virginia in the American Civil War Virginia_sentence_153

In addition to agriculture, slave labor was increasingly used in mining, shipbuilding and other industries. Virginia_sentence_154

The execution of Gabriel Prosser in 1800, Nat Turner's slave rebellion in 1831 and John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 marked the growing social discontent over slavery and its role in the plantation economy. Virginia_sentence_155

By 1860, almost half a million people, roughly 31 percent of the total population of Virginia, were enslaved. Virginia_sentence_156

This division contributed to the start of the American Civil War. Virginia_sentence_157

Virginia voted to secede from the United States on April 17, 1861, after the Battle of Fort Sumter and Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers. Virginia_sentence_158

On April 24, Virginia joined the Confederate States of America, which chose Richmond as its capital. Virginia_sentence_159

After the 1861 Wheeling Convention, 48 counties in the northwest separated to form a new state of West Virginia, which chose to remain loyal to the Union. Virginia_sentence_160

Virginian general Robert E. Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia in 1862, and led invasions into Union territory, ultimately becoming commander of all Confederate forces. Virginia_sentence_161

During the war, more battles were fought in Virginia than anywhere else, including Bull Run, the Seven Days Battles, Chancellorsville, and the concluding Battle of Appomattox Court House. Virginia_sentence_162

After the capture of Richmond in April 1865, the state capital was briefly moved to Lynchburg, while the Confederate leadership fled to Danville. Virginia_sentence_163

Virginia was formally restored to the United States in 1870, due to the work of the Committee of Nine. Virginia_sentence_164

During the post-war Reconstruction era, Virginia adopted a constitution which provided for free public schools, and guaranteed political, civil, and voting rights. Virginia_sentence_165

The populist Readjuster Party ran an inclusive coalition until the conservative white Democratic Party gained power after 1883. Virginia_sentence_166

It passed segregationist Jim Crow laws and in 1902 rewrote the Constitution of Virginia to include a poll tax and other voter registration measures that effectively disenfranchised most African Americans and many poor European Americans. Virginia_sentence_167

Though their schools and public services were segregated and underfunded due to a lack of political representation, African Americans were able to unite in communities and take a greater role in Virginia society. Virginia_sentence_168

Post-Reconstruction Virginia_section_9

New economic forces also changed the Commonwealth. Virginia_sentence_169

Virginian James Albert Bonsack invented the tobacco cigarette rolling machine in 1880 leading to new industrial scale production centered around Richmond. Virginia_sentence_170

In 1886, railroad magnate Collis Potter Huntington founded Newport News Shipbuilding, which was responsible for building six World War I-era dreadnoughts, seven battleships, and 25 destroyers for the U.S. Virginia_sentence_171

Navy from 1907 to 1923. Virginia_sentence_172

During the war, German submarines like U-151 attacked ships outside the port. Virginia_sentence_173

In 1926, Dr. W.A.R. Virginia_sentence_174

Goodwin, rector of Williamsburg's Bruton Parish Church, began restoration of colonial-era buildings in the historic district with financial backing of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Though their project, like others in the state, had to contend with the Great Depression and World War II, work continued as Colonial Williamsburg became a major tourist attraction. Virginia_sentence_175

Protests started by Barbara Rose Johns in 1951 in Farmville against segregated schools led to the lawsuit Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County. Virginia_sentence_176

This case, filed by Richmond natives Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill, was decided in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education, which rejected the segregationist doctrine of "separate but equal". Virginia_sentence_177

But, in 1958, under the policy of "massive resistance" led by the influential segregationist Senator Harry F. Byrd and his Byrd Organization, the Commonwealth prohibited desegregated local schools from receiving state funding. Virginia_sentence_178

The civil rights movement gained many participants in the 1960s. Virginia_sentence_179

It achieved the moral force and support to gain passage of national legislation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Virginia_sentence_180

In 1964 the United States Supreme Court ordered Prince Edward County and others to integrate schools. Virginia_sentence_181

In 1967, the Court also struck down the state's ban on interracial marriage with Loving v. Virginia. Virginia_sentence_182

From 1969 to 1971, state legislators under Governor Mills Godwin rewrote the constitution, after goals such as the repeal of Jim Crow laws had been achieved. Virginia_sentence_183

In 1989, Douglas Wilder became the first African American elected as governor in the United States. Virginia_sentence_184

The Cold War led to the expansion of national defense government programs housed in offices in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., and correlative population growth. Virginia_sentence_185

The Central Intelligence Agency in Langley was involved in various Cold War events, including as the target of Soviet espionage activities. Virginia_sentence_186

Also among the federal developments was the Pentagon, built during World War II as the headquarters for the Department of Defense. Virginia_sentence_187

It was one of the targets of the September 11 attacks; 189 people died at the site when a jet passenger plane was flown into the building. Virginia_sentence_188

Mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and in Virginia Beach in 2019 led to passage of gun control measures in 2020. Virginia_sentence_189

Racial injustice and the presence of Confederate monuments in Virginia have also led to large demonstrations, including in August 2017, when a white supremacist drove his car into protesters, killing one, and in June 2020, when protests that were part of the larger Black Lives Matter movement brought about the removal of statues on Monument Avenue in Richmond and elsewhere. Virginia_sentence_190

Cities and towns Virginia_section_10

See also: Political subdivisions of Virginia and Virginia statistical areas Virginia_sentence_191

Virginia is divided into 95 counties and 38 independent cities, the latter acting in many ways as county-equivalents. Virginia_sentence_192

This general method of treating cities and counties on par with each other is unique to Virginia; only three other independent cities exist elsewhere in the United States, each in a different state. Virginia_sentence_193

Virginia limits the authority of cities and counties to countermand laws expressly allowed by the Virginia General Assembly under what is known as Dillon's Rule. Virginia_sentence_194

In addition to independent cities, there are also incorporated towns which operate under their own governments, but are part of a county. Virginia_sentence_195

Finally there are hundreds of unincorporated communities within the counties. Virginia_sentence_196

Virginia does not have any further political subdivisions, such as villages or townships. Virginia_sentence_197

Over 3.1 million people, 36 percent of Virginians, live in Northern Virginia, which is part of the larger Washington metropolitan area and the Northeast megalopolis. Virginia_sentence_198

Fairfax County is the most populous locality in the state, with more than 1.1 million residents, although that does not include its county seat Fairfax City, which is one of the independent cities. Virginia_sentence_199

Fairfax County has a major urban business and shopping center in Tysons Corner, Virginia's largest office market. Virginia_sentence_200

Neighboring Prince William County is Virginia's second most populous county, with a population exceeding 450,000, and is home to Marine Corps Base Quantico, the FBI Academy and Manassas National Battlefield Park. Virginia_sentence_201

Loudoun County, with the county seat at Leesburg, is the fastest-growing county in the state. Virginia_sentence_202

Arlington County, the smallest self-governing county in the United States by land area, is an urban community organized as a county. Virginia_sentence_203

Richmond is the capital of Virginia, and its metropolitan area has a population over 1.2 million. Virginia_sentence_204

As of 2019, Virginia Beach is the most populous independent city in the Commonwealth, with Chesapeake and Norfolk second and third, respectively. Virginia_sentence_205

The three are part of the larger Hampton Roads metropolitan area, which has a population over 1.7 million people and is the site of the world's largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk. Virginia_sentence_206

Suffolk, which includes a portion of the Great Dismal Swamp, is the largest city by area at 429.1 square miles (1,111 km). Virginia_sentence_207

In western Virginia, Roanoke city and Montgomery County, part of the Blacksburg–Christiansburg metropolitan area, both have surpassed a population of over 100,000 since 2018. Virginia_sentence_208

Demographics Virginia_section_11

Main article: Demographics of Virginia Virginia_sentence_209

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 8,535,519 on July 1, 2019, a 6.7 percent increase since the 2010 United States Census. Virginia_sentence_210

This includes an increase of 534,495 people into the Commonwealth since the 2010 census. Virginia_sentence_211

Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 159,627 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 155,205 people. Virginia_sentence_212

As of 2010, the center of population was located in Louisa County, near Richmond. Virginia_sentence_213

Aside from Virginia, the top birth state for Virginians is New York, having overtaken North Carolina in the 1990s, with the Northeast accounting for the largest number of migrants into the state by region. Virginia_sentence_214

The median age in 2018 was 38.4 years old, making the state just slightly older than the national average of 38.2. Virginia_sentence_215

Ethnicity Virginia_section_12

The state's most populous ethnic group, Non-Hispanic whites, has declined as a proportion of population from 76 percent in 1990 to 61 percent in 2019, as other ethnicities have increased. Virginia_sentence_216

People of English heritage settled throughout the Commonwealth during the colonial period, and others of British and Irish heritage have since immigrated. Virginia_sentence_217

Those who identify on the census as having "American ethnicity" are predominantly of English descent, but have ancestors who have been in North America for so long they choose to identify simply as American. Virginia_sentence_218

Of the English immigrants to Virginia in the 17th century, three-fourths came as indentured servants. Virginia_sentence_219

The western mountains have many settlements that were founded by Scots-Irish immigrants before the American Revolution. Virginia_sentence_220

There are also sizable numbers of people of German descent in the northwestern mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Virginia_sentence_221

On the 2018 American Community Survey, eleven percent said they were of German ancestry. Virginia_sentence_222

The largest minority group in Virginia are African Americans, who include about one-fifth of the population. Virginia_sentence_223

Virginia was a major destination of the Atlantic slave trade, and the first generations of enslaved men, women and children were brought primarily from Angola and the Bight of Biafra. Virginia_sentence_224

The Igbo ethnic group of what is now southern Nigeria were the single largest African group among slaves in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_225

Many African Americans also have European and Native American ancestry, often with asymmetrical male and female ancestry contribution. Virginia_sentence_226

Though the Black population was reduced by the Great Migration to northern industrial cities in the first half of the 20th century, since 1965 there has been a reverse migration of Blacks returning south. Virginia_sentence_227

According to the Pew Research Center, the state has the highest number of Black-white interracial marriages in the United States, and 3.1 percent of Virginians describe themselves as biracial. Virginia_sentence_228

More recent immigration in the late 20th century and early 21st century has resulted in new communities of Hispanics and Asians. Virginia_sentence_229

Among international immigrants to Virginia, eleven percent were born in El Salvador, nine percent in India, six percent in South Korea and five percent each in Mexico and the Philippines as of 2017. Virginia_sentence_230

As of 2019, 9.6 percent of Virginia's total population describe themselves as Hispanic or Latino, and 6.9 percent as Asian. Virginia_sentence_231

The state's Hispanic population rose by 92 percent from 2000 to 2010, with two-thirds of Hispanics in the state living in Northern Virginia. Virginia_sentence_232

Hispanic citizens in Virginia have higher median household incomes and educational attainment than the general state population. Virginia_sentence_233

Northern Virginia also has a significant population of Vietnamese Americans, whose major wave of immigration followed the Vietnam War. Virginia_sentence_234

Korean Americans have migrated more recently, attracted by the quality school system. Virginia_sentence_235

The Filipino American community has about 45,000 in the Hampton Roads area, many of whom have ties to the U.S. Virginia_sentence_236

Navy and armed forces. Virginia_sentence_237

Additionally, 0.5 percent of Virginians are American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.1 percent are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Virginia_sentence_238

Virginia has extended state recognition to eleven Native American tribes resident in the state. Virginia_sentence_239

Seven tribes also have federal recognition, including six that were recognized in 2018 after passage of bill named for activist Thomasina Jordan. Virginia_sentence_240

The Pamunkey and Mattaponi have reservations on tributaries of the York River in the Tidewater region. Virginia_sentence_241

Languages Virginia_section_13

As of 2010, 85.9% (6,299,127) of Virginia residents age five and older spoke English at home as a first language, while 14.1% (1,036,442) did not—6.4% (470,058) spoke Spanish, 0.8% (56,518) Korean, 0.6% (45,881) Vietnamese, 0.6% (42,418) Chinese (including Mandarin), and 0.6% (40,724) Tagalog. Virginia_sentence_242

English was passed as the Commonwealth's official language by statutes in 1981 and again in 1996, though the status is not mandated by the Constitution of Virginia. Virginia_sentence_243

The Piedmont region is known for its dialect's strong influence on Southern American English. Virginia_sentence_244

While a more homogenized American English is found in urban areas, various accents are also used, including the Tidewater accent, the Old Virginia accent, and the anachronistic Elizabethan of Tangier Island. Virginia_sentence_245

Religion Virginia_section_14

See also: Religion in early Virginia Virginia_sentence_246

Virginia is predominantly Christian and Protestant; Baptist denominations combined to form largest group with about 26 percent of the population as of 2014, and around 763,655 total members as of 2010. Virginia_sentence_247

Baptist denominational groups in Virginia include the Baptist General Association of Virginia, with about 1,400 member churches, which supports both the Southern Baptist Convention and the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; and the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia with more than 500 affiliated churches, which supports the Southern Baptist Convention. Virginia_sentence_248

Roman Catholics are the second-largest religious group with 673,853 members. Virginia_sentence_249

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington includes most of Northern Virginia's Catholic churches, while the Diocese of Richmond covers the rest. Virginia_sentence_250

The Virginia Conference is the regional body of the United Methodist Church in most of the Commonwealth, while the Holston Conference represents much of extreme Southwest Virginia. Virginia_sentence_251

The Virginia Synod is responsible for the congregations of the Lutheran Church. Virginia_sentence_252

Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Congregationalist, and Episcopalian adherents each comprised less than two percent of the population as of 2010. Virginia_sentence_253

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Southern Virginia, and Southwestern Virginia support the various Episcopal churches. Virginia_sentence_254

In November 2006, 15 conservative Episcopal churches voted to split from the Diocese of Virginia over the ordination of openly gay bishops and clergy in other dioceses of the Episcopal Church; these churches continue to claim affiliation with the larger Anglican Communion through other bodies outside the United States. Virginia_sentence_255

Though Virginia law allows parishioners to determine their church's affiliation, the diocese claimed the secessionist churches' buildings and properties. Virginia_sentence_256

The resulting property law case, ultimately decided in favor of the mainline diocese, was a test for Episcopal churches nationwide. Virginia_sentence_257

Among other religions, adherents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constitute one percent of the population, with two hundred congregations in Virginia as of 2017. Virginia_sentence_258

Fairfax Station is the site of the Ekoji Buddhist Temple, of the Jodo Shinshu school, and the Hindu Durga Temple. Virginia_sentence_259

While the state's Jewish population is small, organized Jewish sites date to 1789 with Congregation Beth Ahabah. Virginia_sentence_260

Muslims are a growing religious group throughout the Commonwealth through immigration. Virginia_sentence_261

Megachurches in the Commonwealth include Thomas Road Baptist Church, Immanuel Bible Church, and McLean Bible Church. Virginia_sentence_262

Several Christian universities are also based in the state, including Regent University, Liberty University, and the University of Lynchburg. Virginia_sentence_263

Economy Virginia_section_15

Main article: Economy of Virginia Virginia_sentence_264

See also: Virginia locations by per capita income Virginia_sentence_265

Virginia's economy has diverse sources of income, including local and federal government, military, farming and high-tech. Virginia_sentence_266

The state's average earnings per job was $63,281, the 11th-highest nationwide, and the gross domestic product (GDP) was $476.4 billion in 2018, the 13th-largest among U.S. states. Virginia_sentence_267

Prior to the coronavirus recession, in March 2020, Virginia had 4.36 million people employed with an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, but jobless claims due to the virus soared over 10% in early April 2020, before leaving off at 6.2% in September, which was the 19th-lowest nationwide. Virginia_sentence_268

Virginia however ranks worst in the nation for timely review of unemployment benefits due to the pandemic. Virginia_sentence_269

Virginia has a median household income of $72,600, 11th-highest nationwide, and a poverty rate of 10.7 percent, 12th-lowest nationwide, as of 2018. Virginia_sentence_270

Montgomery County outside Blacksburg has the highest poverty rate in the state, with 28.5 percent falling below the U.S. Census poverty thresholds. Virginia_sentence_271

Loudoun County meanwhile has the highest median household income in the nation, and the wider Northern Virginia region is among the highest-income regions nationwide. Virginia_sentence_272

As of 2013, six of the twenty highest-income counties in the United States, including the two highest, as well as three of the fifty highest-income towns, are all located in Northern Virginia. Virginia_sentence_273

Though the Gini index shows Virginia has less income inequality than the national average, the state's middle class is also smaller than the majority of states. Virginia_sentence_274

Government Virginia_section_16

Virginia has the highest defense spending of any state per capita, providing the Commonwealth with around 900,000 jobs. Virginia_sentence_275

Approximately twelve percent of all U.S. Virginia_sentence_276

federal procurement money is spent in Virginia, the second-highest amount after California. Virginia_sentence_277

Many Virginians work for federal agencies in Northern Virginia, which include the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense, as well as the National Science Foundation, the United States Geological Survey and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Virginia_sentence_278

Many others work for government contractors, including defense and security firms, which hold more than 15,000 federal contracts. Virginia_sentence_279

Virginia has one of the highest concentrations of veterans of any state, and is second to California in total Department of Defense employees. Virginia_sentence_280

The Hampton Roads area has the largest concentration of military personnel and assets of any metropolitan area in the world, including the largest naval base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk. Virginia_sentence_281

In its state government, Virginia employs 106,143 public employees, who combined have a median income of $44,656 as of 2013. Virginia_sentence_282

Business Virginia_section_17

Virginia was home to 653,193 separate firms in the 2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners, with 54% of those majority male-owned and 36.2% majority female-owned. Virginia_sentence_283

Approximately 28.3% of firms were also majority minority-owned, and 11.7% were veteran-owned. Virginia_sentence_284

Twenty-one Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Virginia as of 2019, with the largest companies by revenue being Freddie Mac, General Dynamics, and Capital One. Virginia_sentence_285

The largest by their number of employees are Dollar Tree in Chesapeake and Hilton Worldwide Holdings in McLean. Virginia_sentence_286

Virginia's business environment has been ranked highly by various publications. Virginia_sentence_287

In 2019, CNBC named Virginia their Top State for Business, with its deductions being mainly for the high cost of living, while Forbes magazine ranked it fourth, though number one in quality of life. Virginia_sentence_288

Additionally, in 2014 a survey of 12,000 small business owners found Virginia to be one of the most friendly states for small businesses. Virginia_sentence_289

Oxfam America however ranked Virginia last in their July 2018 ranking of best states to work in, largely due to a low minimum wage of $7.25, and the state's organized labor laws. Virginia_sentence_290

Though the topic was debated during in the 2019–20 General Assembly session, Virginia has been a "right to work" state since 1947, and an employment-at-will state since 1906. Virginia_sentence_291

Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers of any state, and the fourth-highest number of technology workers after California, Texas, and New York. Virginia_sentence_292

Computer chips became the state's highest-grossing export in 2006, with a total export value of $694 million in 2019. Virginia_sentence_293

Northern Virginia, once considered the state's dairy capital, now hosts software, communication technology, defense contracting companies, particularly in the Dulles Technology Corridor and Tysons Corner areas. Virginia_sentence_294

The state has the highest average and peak Internet speeds in the United States, with the third-highest worldwide. Virginia_sentence_295

Northern Virginia's data centers can carry up to seventy percent of the nation's Internet traffic, and in 2015 the region was the largest and fastest growing data center market in the nation. Virginia_sentence_296

Tourism in Virginia supported an estimated 234,000 jobs in 2018, making tourism the state's fifth largest industry. Virginia_sentence_297

It generated $26 billion, an increase 4.4 percent from 2017. Virginia_sentence_298

The state was eighth nationwide in domestic travel spending in 2018, with Arlington County the top tourist destination in the state by domestic spending, followed by Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Virginia Beach. Virginia_sentence_299

Virginia also saw 1.1 million international tourists in 2018, a five percent increase from 2017. Virginia_sentence_300

Agriculture Virginia_section_18

As of 2017, agriculture occupied 28 percent of the land in Virginia with 7.8 million acres (12,188 sq mi; 31,565 km) of farmland. Virginia_sentence_301

Nearly 54,000 Virginians work on the state's 43,225 farms, which average 181 acres (0.28 sq mi; 0.73 km). Virginia_sentence_302

Though agriculture has declined significantly since 1960 when there were twice as many farms, it remains the largest single industry in Virginia, providing for over 334,000 jobs. Virginia_sentence_303

Soybeans were the most profitable crop in Virginia in 2017, ahead of corn and cut flowers as other leading agricultural products. Virginia_sentence_304

However, the ongoing China-U.S. trade war led many Virginia farmers to plant cotton instead of soybeans in 2019. Virginia_sentence_305

Though it is no longer the primary crop, Virginia is still the third-largest producer of tobacco in the United States. Virginia_sentence_306

Virginia is also the country's third-largest producer of seafood as of 2018, with sea scallops, oysters, Chesapeake blue crabs, menhaden, and hardshell clams as the largest seafood harvests by value, and France, Canada, and Hong Kong as the top export destinations. Virginia_sentence_307

Commercial fishing supports 18,220 jobs as of 2020, while recreation fishing supports another 5,893. Virginia_sentence_308

Eastern oyster harvests had increased from 23,000 bushels in 2001 to over 500,000 in 2013, but fell to 248,347 in 2019 because of low salinity in coastal waters due to heavy spring rains. Virginia_sentence_309

Those same rains however made 2019 a record wine harvest for vineyards in the Northern Neck and along the Blue Ridge Mountains, which also attract 2.3 million tourists annually. Virginia_sentence_310

Virginia has the seventh-highest number of wineries in the nation, with 307 as of 2020. Virginia_sentence_311

Cabernet franc and Chardonnay are the most grown varieties. Virginia_sentence_312

Taxes Virginia_section_19

Virginia collects personal income tax from those with incomes above a filing threshold; there are five income brackets, with rates ranging from 2.0% to 5.75% of taxable income. Virginia_sentence_313

The state sales and use tax rate is 4.3%. Virginia_sentence_314

There is an additional 1% local tax, for a total of a 5.3% combined sales tax on most Virginia purchases. Virginia_sentence_315

The sales tax rate is higher in three regions: Northern Virginia (6%), Hampton Roads (6%) and the Historic Triangle (7%). Virginia_sentence_316

Unlike the majority of states, Virginia collects sales tax on groceries, but at a lower rate than the general sales tax; the sales tax for food and certain essential personal hygiene goods is 2.5%. Virginia_sentence_317

Virginia's property tax is set and collected at the local government level and varies throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia_sentence_318

Real estate is also taxed at the local level based on one hundred percent of fair market value. Virginia_sentence_319

As of fiscal year 2018, the median real estate tax rate per $100 of assessed taxable value was $1.07 for cities, $0.67 for counties, and $0.17 for towns; town rates are lower because towns (unlike cities) have a narrow range of responsibilities and are subordinate to counties. Virginia_sentence_320

Of local government tax revenue, about 61% is generated from real property taxes; about 24% from tangible personal property, sales and use, and business license tax; and 15% from other taxes (such as restaurant meal taxes, public service corporation property tax, consumer utility tax, and hotel tax). Virginia_sentence_321

Culture Virginia_section_20

Main article: Culture of Virginia Virginia_sentence_322

Virginia's culture was popularized and spread across America and the South by figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee. Virginia_sentence_323

Their homes in Virginia represent the birthplace of America and the South. Virginia_sentence_324

Modern Virginia culture has many sources, and is part of the culture of the Southern United States. Virginia_sentence_325

The Smithsonian Institution divides Virginia into nine cultural regions. Virginia_sentence_326

Besides the general cuisine of the Southern United States, Virginia maintains its own particular traditions. Virginia_sentence_327

Virginia wine is made in many parts of the commonwealth. Virginia_sentence_328

Smithfield ham, sometimes called "Virginia ham", is a type of country ham which is protected by state law, and can be produced only in the town of Smithfield. Virginia_sentence_329

Virginia furniture and architecture are typical of American colonial architecture. Virginia_sentence_330

Thomas Jefferson and many of the commonwealth's early leaders favored the Neoclassical architecture style, leading to its use for important state buildings. Virginia_sentence_331

The Pennsylvania Dutch and their style can also be found in parts of the commonwealth. Virginia_sentence_332

Literature in Virginia often deals with the commonwealth's extensive and sometimes troubled past. Virginia_sentence_333

The works of Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Glasgow often dealt with social inequalities and the role of women in her culture. Virginia_sentence_334

Glasgow's peer and close friend James Branch Cabell wrote extensively about the changing position of gentry in the Reconstruction era, and challenged its moral code with Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice. Virginia_sentence_335

William Styron approached history in works such as The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie's Choice. Virginia_sentence_336

Tom Wolfe has occasionally dealt with his southern heritage in bestsellers like I Am Charlotte Simmons. Virginia_sentence_337

Mount Vernon native Matt Bondurant received critical acclaim for his historic novel The Wettest County in the World about moonshiners in Franklin County during prohibition. Virginia_sentence_338

Virginia also names a state Poet Laureate. Virginia_sentence_339

Fine and performing arts Virginia_section_21

See also: Music of Virginia Virginia_sentence_340

Rich in cultural heritage, Virginia however ranks near the bottom of U.S. states in terms of public spending on the arts, at nearly half of the national average. Virginia_sentence_341

The state government does fund some institutions, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Science Museum of Virginia. Virginia_sentence_342

Other museums include the popular Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art. Virginia_sentence_343

Besides these sites, many open-air museums are located in the Commonwealth, such as Colonial Williamsburg, the Frontier Culture Museum, and various historic battlefields. Virginia_sentence_344

The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities works to improve the Commonwealth's civic, cultural, and intellectual life. Virginia_sentence_345

Theaters and venues in the Commonwealth are found both in the cities and in suburbs. Virginia_sentence_346

The Harrison Opera House, in Norfolk, is home of the Virginia Opera. Virginia_sentence_347

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra operates in and around Hampton Roads. Virginia_sentence_348

Resident and touring theater troupes operate from the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. Virginia_sentence_349

The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, designated the State Theatre of Virginia, won the first Regional Theatre Tony Award in 1948, while the Signature Theatre in Arlington won it in 2009. Virginia_sentence_350

There is also a Children's Theater of Virginia, Theatre IV, which is the second largest touring troupe nationwide. Virginia_sentence_351

Notable music performance venues include The Birchmere, the Landmark Theater, and Jiffy Lube Live. Virginia_sentence_352

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is located in Vienna and is the only national park intended for use as a performing arts center. Virginia_sentence_353

Virginia has launched many award-winning traditional musical artists and internationally successful popular music acts, as well as Hollywood actors. Virginia_sentence_354

Virginia is known for its tradition in the music genres of old-time string and bluegrass, with groups such as the Carter Family and Stanley Brothers. Virginia_sentence_355

The state's African tradition is found through gospel, blues, and shout bands, with both Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey coming from Newport News. Virginia_sentence_356

Contemporary Virginia is also known for folk rock artists like Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz, hip hop stars like Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott and Pusha T, as well as thrash metal groups like GWAR and Lamb of God. Virginia_sentence_357

Several members of country music band Old Dominion grew up in the Roanoke area, and took their band name from Virginia's state nickname. Virginia_sentence_358

Festivals Virginia_section_22

Many counties and localities host county fairs and festivals. Virginia_sentence_359

The Virginia State Fair is held at the Meadow Event Park every September. Virginia_sentence_360

Also in September is the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, which celebrates the city, the waterfront, and regional artists. Virginia_sentence_361

Norfolk's Harborfest, in June, features boat racing and air shows. Virginia_sentence_362

Fairfax County also sponsors Celebrate Fairfax! Virginia_sentence_363

with popular and traditional music performances. Virginia_sentence_364

The Virginia Lake Festival is held during the third weekend in July in Clarksville. Virginia_sentence_365

Wolf Trap hosts the Wolf Trap Opera Company, which produces an opera festival every summer. Virginia_sentence_366

Each September, Bay Days celebrates the Chesapeake Bay as well as Hampton's 400-year history since 1610, and Isle of Wight County holds a County Fair on the second week of September as well. Virginia_sentence_367

Both feature live music performances, and other unique events. Virginia_sentence_368

On the Eastern Shore island of Chincoteague the annual Pony Penning of feral Chincoteague ponies at the end of July is a unique local tradition expanded into a week-long carnival. Virginia_sentence_369

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is a six-day festival held annually in Winchester which includes parades and bluegrass concerts. Virginia_sentence_370

The Old Time Fiddlers' Convention in Galax, begun in 1935, is one of the oldest and largest such events worldwide. Virginia_sentence_371

Two important film festivals, the Virginia Film Festival and the VCU French Film Festival, are held annually in Charlottesville and Richmond, respectively. Virginia_sentence_372

Media Virginia_section_23

Main articles: List of newspapers in Virginia, List of radio stations in Virginia, and List of television stations in Virginia Virginia_sentence_373

The Hampton Roads area is the 42nd-largest media market in the United States as ranked by Nielsen Media Research, while the Richmond-Petersburg area is 54th and Roanoke-Lynchburg is 69th as of 2020. Virginia_sentence_374

Northern Virginia is part of the much larger Washington, D.C. media market, which is the country's 7th-largest. Virginia_sentence_375

There are 36 television stations in Virginia, representing each major U.S. Virginia_sentence_376

network, part of 42 stations which serve Virginia viewers including those broadcasting from neighboring jurisdictions. Virginia_sentence_377

According the Federal Communications Commission, 595 FCC-licensed FM radio stations broadcast in Virginia, with 239 such AM stations as of 2020. Virginia_sentence_378

The nationally available Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is headquartered in Arlington. Virginia_sentence_379

Independent PBS affiliates exist throughout Virginia, and the Arlington PBS member station WETA-TV produces programs such as the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week. Virginia_sentence_380

The most circulated native newspapers in the Commonwealth are Norfolk's The Virginian-Pilot with around 132,000 subscribers, the Richmond Times-Dispatch with 86,219, and The Roanoke Times as of 2018. Virginia_sentence_381

The paper with nation's most daily readers, USA Today, with 520,000 daily subscriptions, is headquartered in McLean. Virginia_sentence_382

USA Today is the flagship publication of Gannett, Inc., which merged with GateHouse Media in 2019, and operates over one hundred local newspapers nationwide. Virginia_sentence_383

In Northern Virginia, The Washington Post is the dominant newspaper and provides local coverage for the region. Virginia_sentence_384

Politico, which covers national politics, has its offices in Rosslyn. Virginia_sentence_385

Education Virginia_section_24

Main article: Education in Virginia Virginia_sentence_386

Virginia's educational system consistently ranks in the top five states on the U.S. Virginia_sentence_387

Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress, with Virginia students outperforming the average in all subject areas and grade levels tested. Virginia_sentence_388

The 2019 Quality Counts report ranked Virginia's K–12 education third in the country, with a letter grade of B. Virginia_sentence_389

All school divisions must adhere to educational standards set forth by the Virginia Department of Education, which maintains an assessment and accreditation regime known as the Standards of Learning to ensure accountability. Virginia_sentence_390

Public K–12 schools in Virginia are generally operated by the counties and cities, and not by the state. Virginia_sentence_391

As off the 2018–19 academic year, a total of 1,290,576 students were enrolled in 2,293 local and regional schools in the Commonwealth, including eight charter schools, and an additional 98 alternative and special education centers across 133 school divisions. Virginia_sentence_392

2018 marked the first decline in overall enrollment in public schools, by just over 2,000 students, since 1984. Virginia_sentence_393

Besides the general public schools in Virginia, there are Governor's Schools and selective magnet schools. Virginia_sentence_394

The Governor's Schools are a collection of more than 40 regional high schools and summer programs intended for gifted students. Virginia_sentence_395

The Virginia Council for Private Education oversees the regulation of 483 state accredited private schools. Virginia_sentence_396

An additional 17,283 students receive homeschooling. Virginia_sentence_397

In 2019, 91.5 percent of high school students graduated on-time after four years, an increase of two percent from 2013, and 89.3 percent of adults over the age 25 had their high school diploma. Virginia_sentence_398

Virginia has one of the smaller racial gaps in graduation rates among U.S. states, with 89.7 percent of Black students graduating on time, compared to 94.7 percent of white students and 97.5 percent of Asian students. Virginia_sentence_399

Despite ending school segregation in the 1960s, seven percent of Virginia's public schools were rated as "intensely segregated" by The Civil Rights Project at UCLA in 2019, and the number has risen since 1989, when only three percent were. Virginia_sentence_400

Virginia has comparatively large public school districts, typically comprising entire counties or cites, and this helps mitigate funding gaps seen in other states such that non-white districts average slightly more funding, $255 per student as of 2019, than majority white districts. Virginia_sentence_401

Elementary schools, with the smallest districts, we found by VCU study in 2019 to be more segregated than middle or high schools in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_402

Colleges and universities Virginia_section_25

See also: List of colleges and universities in Virginia Virginia_sentence_403

As of 2019, Virginia has the sixth highest percent of residents with bachelor's degrees or higher, with 38.2 percent. Virginia_sentence_404

As of that year, there are 169 colleges and universities in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_405

In the 2019 U.S. Virginia_sentence_406

News & World Report ranking of national public universities, the University of Virginia is ranked No. Virginia_sentence_407

3, the College of William and Mary is No. Virginia_sentence_408

10, Virginia Tech is No. Virginia_sentence_409

30, George Mason University is No. Virginia_sentence_410

67, and Virginia Commonwealth University is No. Virginia_sentence_411

80. Virginia_sentence_412

James Madison University is ranked the No. Virginia_sentence_413

6 regional university in The South. Virginia_sentence_414

There are 124 private institutions in the state, including nationally ranked liberal arts colleges Washington and Lee University at No. Virginia_sentence_415

11, the University of Richmond at No. Virginia_sentence_416

25, and the Virginia Military Institute at No. Virginia_sentence_417

81. Virginia_sentence_418

Virginia Tech and Virginia State University are the state's land-grant universities. Virginia_sentence_419

The Virginia Military Institute is the oldest state military college. Virginia_sentence_420

Virginia also operates 23 community colleges on 40 campuses which enrolled more than 228,000 degree-seeking students during the 2018–2019 school year. Virginia_sentence_421

As of 2019, George Mason University had the largest on-campus enrollment at 37,677 students, though the private Liberty University had the largest total enrollment in the state, with 88,283 online and 15,105 on-campus students in Lynchburg. Virginia_sentence_422

Health Virginia_section_26

Virginia has a mixed health record, and was ranked as the 15th overall healthiest state according to the 2019 United Health Foundation's Health Rankings. Virginia_sentence_423

Virginia was 19th lowest among U.S. states in its number of premature deaths, with 6,914 per 100,000, and 24th with an infant mortality rate of 5.9 per 1,000 live births. Virginia_sentence_424

Falls Church and Loudoun County were both ranked in the top ten healthiest communities in 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. Virginia_sentence_425

There are however racial and social health disparities. Virginia_sentence_426

With high rates of heart disease and diabetes, African Americans in Virginia had an average life expectancy 4 years lower than whites and 12 years lower than Asian Americans and Latinos in 2017, and were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic. Virginia_sentence_427

African-American mothers are also three times more likely to die while giving birth in the state. Virginia_sentence_428

Mortality rates among white middle-class Virginians have also been rising, with drug overdose, suicide, and alcohol poisoning as leading causes. Virginia_sentence_429

Weight is an issue for many Virginians, and 30.3% of adults and 13.2% of 10- to 17-year-olds are obese as of 2019. Virginia_sentence_430

Additionally, 35% of adults are overweight and 23.3% do not exercise regularly. Virginia_sentence_431

Virginia banned smoking in bars and restaurants in January 2010, and the percent of tobacco smokers in the state has declined from 19% in that year to 14.9% in 2019. Virginia_sentence_432

Virginia does have among the highest rates of immunization nationwide, ranking 6th for childhood immunization and 14th for both TDaP and HPV vaccines per capita. Virginia_sentence_433

In 2008, Virginia became the first U.S. state to mandate the HPV vaccine for girls for school attendance. Virginia_sentence_434

There are 90 hospitals in Virginia with a combined 17,706 hospital beds as of 2020. Notable examples include Inova Fairfax Hospital, the largest hospital in the Washington Metropolitan Area, and the VCU Medical Center, located on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. Virginia_sentence_435

The University of Virginia Medical Center, part of the University of Virginia Health System, is highly ranked in endocrinology according to U.S. Virginia_sentence_436

News & World Report. Virginia_sentence_437

Virginia has a ratio of 148.1 primary care physicians per 10,000 residents, which is the 24th highest nationally, but only 171.9 mental health providers per that number, the 10th lowest nationwide. Virginia_sentence_438

The rate of uninsured Virginians dropped to 8.8% after the state government passed Medicare expansion in 2019. Virginia_sentence_439

Transportation Virginia_section_27

Main article: Transportation in Virginia Virginia_sentence_440

Because of the 1932 Byrd Road Act, the state government controls most of Virginia's roads, instead of a local county authority as is usual in other states. Virginia_sentence_441

As of 2018, the Virginia Department of Transportation owns and operates 57,867 miles (93,128 km) of the total 70,105 miles (112,823 km) of roads in the state, making it the third largest state highway system in the United States. Virginia_sentence_442

Although the Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes Northern Virginia, has the second highest rate of traffic congestion in the nation, Virginia as a whole has the 21st-lowest rate of congestion and the average commute time is 26.9 minutes. Virginia_sentence_443

Virginia hit peak car usage before the year 2000, making it one of the first such states. Virginia_sentence_444

Virginia has Amtrak passenger rail service along several corridors, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) maintains two commuter lines into Washington, D.C. from Fredericksburg and Manassas. Virginia_sentence_445

VRE is one of the nation's fastest growing commuter rail services, handling nearly 20,000 passengers a day. Virginia_sentence_446

Arlington accounted for forty percent of Virginia's public transit trips as of 2013, with most of that being from the Washington Metro transit system, which also serves Alexandria and communities in Fairfax County along I-66. Virginia_sentence_447

The system is currently expanding west into additional areas of Loudoun County. Virginia_sentence_448

Major freight railroads in Virginia include Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. Virginia_sentence_449

Commuter buses include the Fairfax Connector, FRED buses in Fredericksburg, and OmniRide in Prince William County. Virginia_sentence_450

The Virginia Department of Transportation operates several free ferries throughout Virginia, the most notable being the Jamestown Ferry which connects Jamestown to Scotland Wharf across the James River. Virginia_sentence_451

Virginia has five major airports: Washington Dulles International and Reagan Washington National in Northern Virginia, both of which handle more than twenty million passengers a year; Richmond International; and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport and Norfolk International serving the Hampton Roads area. Virginia_sentence_452

Several other airports offer limited commercial passenger service, and sixty-six public airports serve the state's aviation needs. Virginia_sentence_453

The Virginia Port Authority's main seaports are those in Hampton Roads, which carried 60,014,070 short tons (54,443,850 t) of total cargo in 2019, the seventh most of United States ports. Virginia_sentence_454

The Eastern Shore of Virginia is the site of Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket testing center owned by NASA, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a commercial spaceport. Virginia_sentence_455

Space tourism is also offered through Vienna-based Space Adventures. Virginia_sentence_456

Law and government Virginia_section_28

Main article: Government of Virginia Virginia_sentence_457

In 1619, the first Virginia General Assembly met at Jamestown Church, and included 22 locally elected representatives, making Virginia's legislature the oldest in the North America. Virginia_sentence_458

These representatives became a formal House of Burgesses in 1642 and governed with the crown-appointed Governor's Council until Virginia declared independence in 1776. Virginia_sentence_459

The current General Assembly is the 161st since that year. Virginia_sentence_460

The government today functions under the seventh Constitution of Virginia, which was approved by voters in 1971 and is similar to the federal structure in that it provides for three branches: a strong legislature, an executive, and a unified judicial system. Virginia_sentence_461

Virginia's legislature is bicameral with a 100-member House of Delegates and 40-member Senate, who together write the laws for the Commonwealth. Virginia_sentence_462

Delegates serve two-year terms, while senators serve four-year terms, with the most recent elections for both taking place in November 2019. Virginia_sentence_463

The executive department includes the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, who are elected every four years in separate elections, with the next taking place in November 2021. Virginia_sentence_464

The governor must be at least 30 years old and incumbent governors cannot run for re-election, however the lieutenant governor and attorney general can, and governors can and have served non-consecutive terms. Virginia_sentence_465

The lieutenant governor is the official head of the Senate, and is responsible for breaking ties. Virginia_sentence_466

The House elects a Speaker of the House and the Senate elects a President pro tempore, who presides when the lieutenant governor isn't present, and both houses elect a clerk and majority and minority leaders. Virginia_sentence_467

The governor also nominates their eleven cabinet members and others who head various state departments. Virginia_sentence_468

State budgets are proposed in even years by the governor. Virginia_sentence_469

Based on data through 2018, the Pew Center on the States found Virginia's government to be above average in running surpluses, while U.S. Virginia_sentence_470

News and World Report ranked the state eighth in fiscal stability. Virginia_sentence_471

The legislature meets annually starting on the second Wednesday of the year, typically for 60 days in even years and 48 days in odd years due to the state's biannual budgeting, though special sessions can be called either by the governor or with agreement of two-thirds of both houses. Virginia_sentence_472

Special sessions were called in 2019 on gun control and in 2020 on police reform and the impact of the coronavirus on the state budget. Virginia_sentence_473

The judges and justices who make up Virginia's judicial system, also the oldest in America, are elected by a majority vote in both the House and Senate without input from the governor, one way Virginia's legislature is stronger than its executive. Virginia_sentence_474

The system consists of a hierarchy from the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Court of Appeals of Virginia to the Circuit Courts, the trial courts of general jurisdiction, and the lower General District Courts and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts. Virginia_sentence_475

The Supreme Court has seven justices who serve twelve-year terms, with a mandatory retirement age of 73. Virginia_sentence_476

The Supreme Court selects its own Chief Justice from among their seven members, who is informally limited to two four-year terms. Virginia_sentence_477

The Code of Virginia is the statutory law, and consists of the codified legislation of the General Assembly. Virginia_sentence_478

The Virginia State Police is the largest law enforcement agency in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_479

The Virginia Capitol Police is the oldest police department in the United States. Virginia_sentence_480

The Virginia National Guard consists of 7,500 soldiers in the Virginia Army National Guard and 1,200 airmen in the Virginia Air National Guard. Virginia_sentence_481

Since the resumption of capital punishment in Virginia in 1982, 113 people have been executed, the second highest number in the nation, and three inmates are on the state's death row as of 2019. Virginia_sentence_482

Virginia has the fourth lowest violent crime rate and 13th-lowest property crime rate as of 2018 according to FBI data. Virginia_sentence_483

Virginia ended prisoner parole in 1995. Virginia_sentence_484

As of 2019, Virginia's rate of recidivism (as measured by the proportion of convicted felons released back into the community who are re-convicted within 3 years and sentenced to a year or more) is 23.1 percent, the lowest in the country. Virginia_sentence_485

Politics Virginia_section_29

Main article: Politics of Virginia Virginia_sentence_486

See also: Elections in Virginia and Political party strength in Virginia Virginia_sentence_487

Over the 20th century, Virginia shifted from a largely rural, politically Southern and conservative state to a more urbanized, pluralistic, and politically moderate environment. Virginia_sentence_488

Up until the 1970s, Virginia was a racially divided one-party state dominated by the Byrd Organization, which sought to stymie the political power of Northern Virginia, perpetuate segregation, and restrict voter registration. Virginia_sentence_489

The organization used malapportionment to control what areas of the state were over-represented in the General Assembly and the U.S. Congress until ordered to end the practice by the 1964 U.S. Virginia_sentence_490

Supreme Court decision in Davis v. Mann and the 1965 the Virginia Supreme Court decision in Wilkins v. Davis respectively. Virginia_sentence_491

Passage of Federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, helped end the state's Jim Crow laws which effectively disfranchised African Americans. Virginia_sentence_492

Greater enfranchisement and demographic shifts further changed the electorate. Virginia_sentence_493

In 1980, 56 percent of eligible voters were born in the state; in 2019 that number was 45 percent, a result of strong international immigration and domestic migration into the state. Virginia_sentence_494

Regional differences also play a large part in Virginia politics. Virginia_sentence_495

While urban and growing suburban areas, including much of Northern Virginia, form the Democratic Party base, rural southern and western areas moved to support the Republican Party in response to its "southern strategy". Virginia_sentence_496

Rural Democratic support has nevertheless persisted in union-influenced Roanoke in Southwest Virginia, college towns such as Charlottesville and Blacksburg, and the southeastern Black Belt Region. Virginia_sentence_497

State election seasons traditionally start with the annual Shad Planking event in Wakefield. Virginia_sentence_498

State elections Virginia_section_30

State elections in Virginia occur in odd-numbered years, with executive department elections occurring in years following U.S. presidential elections and Senate elections occurring in the years prior to presidential elections, as both have four-year terms. Virginia_sentence_499

House of Delegates elections take place concurrent with each of those elections as members have two-year terms. Virginia_sentence_500

National politics often play a role in state election outcomes, and Virginia has elected governors of the party opposite the U.S. president in ten of the last eleven contests, with only Terry McAuliffe beating the trend. Virginia_sentence_501

McAuliffe, a Democrat, was elected Governor in the 2013 elections by two percentage points during Barack Obama's second presidential term. Virginia_sentence_502

Republicans, however, held a super-majority (68–32) of seats in the House of Delegates, which they had first gained in the 2011 state elections. Virginia_sentence_503

Republicans also held a one-vote majority the state senate, which they then maintained in the 2015 election. Virginia_sentence_504

Eleven house district lines used in these elections, drawn following the 2010 U.S. Census, were later judged unconstitutional for discriminating against African Americans. Virginia_sentence_505

The 2017 statewide elections resulted in Democrats holding the three highest offices, with outgoing lieutenant governor Ralph Northam winning the governorship, Justin Fairfax elected lieutenant governor, and Mark Herring continuing as attorney general. Virginia_sentence_506

In concurrent House of Delegates elections, Democrats flipped fifteen of the Republicans' previous sixteen-seat majority. Virginia_sentence_507

Control of the House came down to the tied election in the 94th district, which was won by Republicans through drawing of lots, giving the party a slim 51–49 majority in the 2018–19 legislative sessions. Virginia_sentence_508

Despite a political crisis that February, Democrats took full control of the General Assembly in the November 2019 elections, the first after several districts were redrawn because of discrimination. Virginia_sentence_509

Voters in 2020 passed a referendum to give control of drawing both congressional and state legislative districts to a commission of eight citizens and four legislators from each of the two major parties, rather than the legislature. Virginia_sentence_510

Federal elections Virginia_section_31

See also: United States presidential elections in Virginia Virginia_sentence_511

Though Virginia was considered a "swing state" in the 2008 presidential election, Democratic candidates carried Virginia's 13 electoral votes in that election and the three since, suggesting the state has shifted to being reliably Democratic. Virginia_sentence_512

Virginia had previously voted for Republican presidential candidates in 13 out of 14 presidential elections from 1952 to 2004, including 10 in a row from 1968 to 2004, but hasn't voted for a Republican candidate statewide since 2009. Virginia_sentence_513

Virginia currently holds its presidential primary election on Super Tuesday, the same day as thirteen other states, with the most recent held on March 3, 2020. Virginia_sentence_514

In U.S. congressional elections since 2006, both parties have seen successes. Virginia_sentence_515

Republican Senator George Allen lost close races in 2006, to Democratic newcomer Jim Webb, and again in 2012, to Webb's replacement, former Governor Tim Kaine. Virginia_sentence_516

In 2008, Democrats won both United States Senate seats; former Governor Mark Warner was elected to replace retiring Republican John Warner. Virginia_sentence_517

In the 2010 mid-term elections, the first under President Obama, Republicans flipped three United States House of Representatives seats from the Democrats, while in the 2018 mid-terms, the first under President Trump, Democrats flipped three seats from Republicans. Virginia_sentence_518

Of the state's eleven seats in the House of Representatives, Democrats currently hold seven and Republicans hold four. Virginia_sentence_519

Sports Virginia_section_32

See also: Sports teams in Virginia Virginia_sentence_520

Virginia is the most populous U.S. state without a major professional sports league franchise. Virginia_sentence_521

The reasons for this include the lack of any dominant city or market within the state, the proximity of teams in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, and a reluctance to publicly finance stadiums. Virginia_sentence_522

A proposed arena in Virginia Beach designed for an NBA franchise became the latest unsuccessful sports initiative when the city council there ended support in 2017. Virginia_sentence_523

Norfolk is however host to two minor league teams: The AAA Norfolk Tides and the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals. Virginia_sentence_524

The San Francisco Giants' AA team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, began play at The Diamond in 2010, replacing the AAA Richmond Braves, who relocated after 2008. Virginia_sentence_525

Additionally, the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians also have Single-A farm teams in Virginia. Virginia_sentence_526

The Richmond Kickers, a United Soccer League club, have operated since 1993 and are the only team in their league to win both the league championship and the U.S. Virginia_sentence_527 Open Cup in the same year. Virginia_sentence_528

The Washington Football Team have their headquarters in Ashburn and their training facility is in Richmond, and the Washington Capitals train at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. Virginia_sentence_529

Virginia has many professional caliber golf courses including the Greg Norman course at Lansdowne Resort and Kingsmill Resort, home of the Kingsmill Championship, an LPGA Tour tournament. Virginia_sentence_530

NASCAR currently schedules Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races on two tracks in Virginia: Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway. Virginia_sentence_531

Virginia natives currently competing in the series include Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler. Virginia_sentence_532

Virginia does not allow state appropriated funds to be used for either operational or capital expenses for intercollegiate athletics. Virginia_sentence_533

Despite this, both the Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies have been able to field competitive teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference and maintain modern facilities. Virginia_sentence_534

Their rivalry is followed statewide. Virginia_sentence_535

Twelve other universities compete in NCAA Division I, particularly in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Big South Conference, and Colonial Athletic Association. Virginia_sentence_536

Three historically Black schools compete in the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and two others (Hampton and Norfolk State) compete in Division I. Virginia_sentence_537

Several smaller schools compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and the USA South Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III. Virginia_sentence_538

The NCAA currently holds its Division III championships in football, men's basketball, volleyball and softball in Salem. Virginia_sentence_539

State symbols Virginia_section_33

Main article: List of Virginia state symbols Virginia_sentence_540

The state nickname is its oldest symbol, though it has never been made official by law. Virginia_sentence_541

Virginia was given the title "Dominion" by King Charles II of England at the time of The Restoration, because it had remained loyal to the crown during the English Civil War, and the present moniker, "Old Dominion" is a reference to that title. Virginia_sentence_542

Charles' supporters were called Cavaliers, and "The Cavalier State" nickname was popularized after the American Civil War to romanticize the antebellum period. Virginia_sentence_543

Sports teams from the University of Virginia are called the Cavaliers. Virginia_sentence_544

The other nickname, "Mother of Presidents", is also historic, as eight Virginians have served as President of the United States, including four of the first five. Virginia_sentence_545

The state's motto, Sic Semper Tyrannis, translates from Latin as "Thus Always to Tyrants", and is used on the state seal, which is then used on the flag. Virginia_sentence_546

While the seal was designed in 1776, and the flag was first used in the 1830s, both were made official in 1930. Virginia_sentence_547

The majority of the other symbols were made official in the late 20th century. Virginia_sentence_548

The Virginia reel is among the square dances classified as the state dance. Virginia_sentence_549

In 1940, Virginia made "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" the state song, but it was retired in 1997 due to its references to slavery. Virginia_sentence_550

In March 2015, Virginia named "Our Great Virginia", which uses the tune of "Oh Shenandoah", as the traditional state song and "Sweet Virginia Breeze" as the popular state song. Virginia_sentence_551

See also Virginia_section_34


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